08 June 2011

Review: The City in the lake - Rachel Neumeier

The City in the lake by Rachel Neumeier
published 2008
fantasy (young adult)
bought my copy

Strange and menacing things are going on in the Kingdom. It seems that the heart of the Kingdom is missing and everyone has to suffer because of it.
Months ago Timou's father, a mage, left their small village to solve the issues, but he never came back from the City. Timou learned the ways of magic from her father and decides go to the City to find him and learn more about the scary events that threaten the whole kingdom. On her dangerous journey she learns a lot about herself, her magic and her parentage. She also realizes that to restore the heart of the Kingdom she needs new allies.
Meanwhile Jonas, a young man from Timou's village, follows her because he wants to help her and has feelings for her. But he soon is captivated by a dangerous creature and it's not sure if he will ever be  free again.
Will Timou and Jonas be able to heal the Kingdom? And will they find happiness?

When I first tried to read "The City in the lake" I stopped on page five. But not because the book wasn't great or didn't work for me. It was because to really enjoy and appreciate the story I had to read it in a quiet place and with a relaxed mind. I often read in the bus / on the train and most often that works perfectly. But sometimes a book like "A City in the lake" crosses my way that isn't made to read on the go, books like this one are best read when you are ready and willing to relax completely and forget everything around you. 
The second time I started to read the book I was relaxed and at home. After only a few pages I  knew that I was going to love Rachel Neumeier's writing style and the fantastic world she created. The rich language the author used is wonderful and nearly every sentence in "The City in the lake" created a detailed, fantastic picture in my mind. When I read about Timou's adventures it was like watching a beautiful fantasy movie and I was completely captured by it.

Timou was a wonderful heroine, I loved reading about her thoughts and feelings. The way she experienced the world was unique and captivating. I also liked reading about Jonas and I was fascinated with Lord Neill (Lord Bastard as he is also called). He was one of the most interesting characters in the book, the way he cared for the Kingdom and the people in it, despite what happened to him in the past, was impressive.
I enjoyed that all of the main characters contributed to the story and the rescue of the kingdom, everyone was equally important and got a chance to shine. I furthermore enjoyed the way the love story between Timou and Jonas was written. Like everything else in this book their relationship developed gently, beautifully and quietly.

When I finished "The City in the lake" I was so happy to have discovered a wonderful new to me author who writes fantasy novels that are beautifully written and touch my heart. I already ordered more books by Rachel Neumeier and can't wait to read them. 

I'm not really happy with the cover, I think it looks a bit weird, something about the young woman doesn't work for me.

final appraisal
"The city in the lake" is a beautifully written, impressive and quiet book that I loved reading. This book deserves to be read when you can concentrate completely on the rich language Rachel Neumeier uses. 
I would recommend this book to all readers who enjoy reading fantasy and quiet, thoughtful books.


  1. Nice review Sabrina, and I agree with you on the cover. Really don't like looking at it.

  2. Thanks so much for the fantastic review - I already went and bought this book at amazon. I love your review, I can't wait to read the book. I too read on the go a lot, I will be glad for a book that lends itself to the lounge chair on my patio. I too found the cover art disturbing - I think it's the eyes. Thanks again for the review, it is beautifully written, you should send a copy to the author - I bet she would love to read it. Happy reading.

  3. @ Aurian: Thanks, good to know that I'm not the only one who finds the cover a bit weird. The cover of the hardcover version is even worse :(

    @ Beverly: Thanks for the kind words. Hope you will enjoy this book as much as I did.

  4. The cover is a little off for me as well, but you really sold me on the story. Great review!

  5. Interesting. I am seeing a few positive reviews of this book but people do comment on the pacing. I've read the first two of Neumeier's Griffin Mage trilogy and I notice that the pacing can be sedate at times, but the sense of setting is very good. I plan to read the third book at some point. Maybe I will give this a go too - reviewers seem to like the way the book ends. What did you think about the ending?

  6. @ Janicu: Yes, the pacing is sedate, that's actually one of the things I enjoyed about the story.
    The ending was beautiful, it's about the relationship between Jonas and Timou and fit perfectly to the rest of the story.

    I ordered the first book in Neumeier's adult trilogy on Monday, hopefully I will like the book as much as I did "The City in the lake".

  7. I'm in the minority in my reaction to this book, I really wanted to fall in love with it but that didn't happen. I guess I wasn't able to connect with the characters and I had high expectations because of the reviews that I've read. I've already passed on my copy to someone and I hope she loves it more than I did.

  8. @ Cachic: Sometimes a book just isn't for you. That happened to me a lot in the last months and sometimes I find it very frustrating.




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